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June 13, 2005 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2005-06-13

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, June 13, 2005
tothedaily@michigandaily.com Editor in Chief Editorial Page Editor
U STUDENTS AT THE Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN the majority of the Daily's editorial board. All other pieces do not
SINCE 1890 necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.


nrollment deposit numbers recently
released by the University indicate
that minority enrollment will like-
ly rebound this fall after a drop last year.
The key factor responsible for this change
appears to be the University's strengthened
commitment to recruiting minority appli-
cants after last year's drop. These encourag-
ing results show that the University's current
admissions process, combined with serious
recruiting efforts, can be effective in promot-
ing diversity. To maintain its commitment to
a diverse campus, the University needs to
not simply maintain but also intensify its
work to maintain a diverse student body.
While final enrollment data will not be
available until the fall, the number of paid
enrollment deposits has historically been a
reliable predictor of fall-term enrollment.
According to the figures released last week,
deposits from black students jumped 20
percent this year, after suffering a 13-per-
cent drop last year. Deposits from Hispanic
students increased 15 percent and are on
track to reach an all-time high for Hispan-
ic enrollment at the University. Although
deposits from Native American students

An encouraging sign
Recruitment efforts key to minority applications

were down slightly, last year saw a large
number of deposits from this group.
Given the steep decline in minority
enrollment last year, these numbers come
as a welcome relief. This is the second
year the University has implemented a new
undergraduate application that was revised
to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court's
affirmative action ruling. A trend of contin-
ual drops in minority enrollment could have
threatened the University's mission to foster
diversity and required further revisions to
the admissions process.
University President Mary Sue Coleman
should be commended for reaching out to
minorities, and her efforts - such as her
visits to three traditionally black churches
last year - have certainly played a part
in this increase in minority enrollment.
The University has also recruited minority

applicants through the creation of a Span-
ish-language website and efforts by minor-
ity alumni and current students to reach
out to prospective students. The University
must ensure that these efforts continue and
are increased further so that this year's
enrollment numbers become the norm, not
an anomaly.
The Spanish-language website provides a
level of comfort for Spanish-speaking par-
ents but currently provides fairly limited
information about the University. Upon its
launch, the University pledged that the site
would continue to expand, but few improve-
ments have been made since last fall. It
should be expanded so that Spanish-speak-
ing parents are comfortable and better able
to learn about the University.
Additionally, the University should
increase the number of visits to Michigan

high schools with large minority popula-
tions. University students and alumni can
play an important role in recruitment to
make sure that all worthy applicants, not
just those from affluent schools with well-
connected guidance counselors, are familiar
with the University.
The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative
could prevent the University from consid-
ering race in its admissions policy. Should 4
MCRI appear on the state ballot and pass
in 2006, minority enrollment would likely
drop significantly. It is important the Uni-
versity continue to refine the recruitment
methods needed to attract minority appli-
cants, especially with the threat that MCRI
could eventually force the University to alter
its admissions policy.4
The past year's drop in minority enroll-
ment and the looming threat of MCRI indi-
cate that the University must stretch itself
to promote diversity on campus. This year's
statistics serve as proof that recruitment
efforts have been successful toward this aim,
and the University must continue to further
current practices and explore new strategies
aimed at attracting minority students.

Manufacturiwv oafuture
Bond proposal needed t e economy

Paging Dr. Reefer
Congress can address flaws of medical pot ruling

Michigan's economy, already suffer-
ing from the second-highest unem-
ployment rate in the nation, was
dealt another blow last week with General
Motors' announcement that it would lay off
25,000 factory workers over the next three
years. Exactly which jobs will be cut has
not yet been determined, but since Michigan
supplies nearly half of GM's 110,000 fac-
tory workers, it is assured that these cutoffs
will be devastating to thousands of Michi-
gan employees. Recognizing that Michigan's
future with the manufacturing industry is
bleak, Gov. Jennifer Granholm has encour-
aged increased diversification of Michigan's
economy, promoting a $2-billion bond initia-
tive that would further development in the life
sciences and other research and development
sectors. But the reluctance of Republican state
legislators to embrace the proposal threatens
any progress that can be made toward revital-
izing Michigan's economy.
The announcement also reveals the
increasing difficulties Detroit's automakers
have been facing in recent years. Foreign
competition and high gas prices, along with
escalating "legacy" and health care costs,
paint a grim picture for the future of the
automotive industry. Increased efficiency,
a shrinking market share and globalization
have already played an important role in
nearly halving GM's domestic payroll over
the past 15 years. Automotive jobs are not
the only victim of I transitioning economy;
manufacturing employees statewide are fac-
ing the same job losses.
Michigan's economic situation has always
been closely tied to automotive manufactur-
ing. Although it may no longer be in its best
interest to continue clinging to a dying manu-
facturing industry, the state does not need to
lose its century-long ties to the automobile
industry. Automotive engineering and devel-

opment of alternative-energy vehicles may be
a new source of growth for the state, provided
Michigan adequately invests in higher educa-
tion to develop the highly-skilled workforce it
needs. While GM talks of closing its manu-
facturing plants, it recently announced the
construction of a rollover crash test facility in
Milford. A Toyota research facility planned
for nearby York Township is additional evi-
dence of growing opportunities in automo-
tive research and development.
Granholm's bond initiative, if success-
ful, would put a referendum on the Novem-
ber ballot for the state to issue $2 billion
in bonds. Pending voter approval, the state
would use bond revenue to invest in high-
tech businesses, creating 72,000 much-need-
ed jobs. Support in the state Legislature is
lagging, however, and an alternate $1-billion
bond proposal has emerged from Republican
legislators. The other proposal, which has
already passed in the state Senate, fails go
to the lengths needed to jump-start econom-
ic recovery and encourage development in
Michigan's high-tech sector. Michigan vot-
ers have already expressed reluctance toward
Granholm's bond proposal, but they should
recognize that the combination of direct
investment, grants and loans that her plan
offers for high-tech businesses are important
components of fostering economic growth.
The state Legislature must recognize that
providing a stable economic future for Michi-
gan will meanreducing the state's dependence
on the automotive industry. The recessions of
the past decades and the increasing number
of layoffs reveal that Michigan must branch
out in order to escape the increasingly painful
loss of manufacturing jobs. As debate over
bond initiatives rages on, Michigan must
focus on long-term economic development,
which will require a significant diversifica-
tion of its economy.

Despite laws in some states allowing
the use of marijuana for medical
purposes, the Supreme Court ruled
last Monday that federal authorities have the
right to prosecute individuals who grow, dis-
tribute or use medicinal marijuana in every
state. Although the court sidestepped the
issue of marijuana's legitimacy as a treatment
for pain and nausea, the decision overruled
many successful state ballot initiatives and
is a major setback for medicinal pot support-
ers. By making the case an issue of states'
rights, however, the court's decision wisely
preserves the federal government's authority
to protect workers and consumers by regu-
lating interstate commerce. Furthermore,
the ruling does not lay the issue to rest;
Congress can and should still move to pass
a law altering marijuana's legal status.
In a 6-3 decision, the court ruled to over-
ride medicinal marijuana laws in 11 differ-
ent states that allowed doctors to prescribe
marijuana to ease the pain of patients suf-
fering from serious illness. The case was
originally brought to court by a California
resident, Diane Monson, who was found
guilty of growing marijuana in her home to
control the back pain caused by her degen-
erative spine disease.
Though the court expressed sympathy
for medicinal marijuana users, it avoided
the issue of whether medicinal marijuana
should be legalized. Justice John Paul Ste-
vens said federal drug laws clearly encom-
pass the use of marijuana and that allowing
states to form their own laws on this issue
would undermine the federal government's
ability to regulate interstate commerce.
"The reasoning behind the ruling has more
to do with the balance of power between the
state and federal government than with drug
regulation. Though the plaintiffs claimed
that marijuana produced and used in Cali-

fornia should not be subject to the interstate
commerce clause, the court held that fed-
eral laws apply to commerce within a state
that could affect the interstate market.
It may be difficult to see a real differ-
ence between interstate and intrastate com-
merce in the modern era. Ideally, the court
would have found a way to reconcile states'
referenda on medicinal marijuana within
the context of states' rights. Its failure to do
so is not a total loss, however, as the ruling
affirms the federal government's right to
legislate on labor regulation, environmental
protection and even racial discrimination.
Through the interstate commerce clause,
the federal government must maintain its
ability to assert authority in these areas, or
states could act to limit workers' rights laws
and environmental protection measures.
The next step for advocates of medici-
nal marijuana is to pressure Congress to
change federal laws concerning the drug.
Currently, a measure co-sponsored by
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) would
prevent federal funding from being used
to prosecute medicinal marijuana users in
states that permit its use. Although sup-
port for the measure crosses party lines,
even this watered-down proposal may not
pass. Ultimately, Congress needs to recon- 4
sider marijuana's current classification as
a Schedule 1 drug with no acknowledg-
ment of its medical uses in lieu of a more
lenient designation.
Overall support for medical marijuana
is building up. A 2002 Time Magazine/
CNN poll found 80 percent of Americans
support the use of marijuana for medicinal 4
purposes. Congress should acknowledge
the overwhelming will of its constituents:
If supporters agressively push legislators,
the legalization of medicinal marijuana can
become a reality.

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